National Safe Motherhood Day

National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated on 11th April consistently since 2013 to make mindfulness about human services and maternity across the world. This is to address Women that they should prioritize their health and nutrition needs, especially in this period. It is during this period only that the child in the womb is dependent wholly on the mother’s nutrition intake.

Foods to Eat

Some Important Guidelines which should be followed are discussed herewith:

The basic goal of every mother should be to consume foods from the below mentioned 5 food groups every single day,

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Lean Proteins
  • Dairy Products
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts
  1. Fruits and Vegetables

This food group is important in every trimester generally, but the second and third trimester is crucial, so consuming 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables is a must. This ensures the natural intake of all kinds of Vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Always prefer seasonal fruits and vegetables, this is helpful in terms of monetary savings but also essential for nutrient intake in accordance with every season.

Green leafy vegetables, spinach, bottle gourd, snake gourd, pumpkin, beans, ladyfinger, fenugreek leaves, ridge gourd, etc can be incorporated in the daily diet at least 3 times.

Amongst fruits, women should prefer apples, bananas, guava, kiwi, pomegranate, pear, mangoes, etc, these provide all vitamins and fiber. Daily intake of 2-3 fruits helps in good digestion and bowel movement.

  1. Lean Proteins

Proteins especially the ones with high biological value are a must in pregnancy as they are essentially responsible for the make up of the child. Eggs, chicken, fish, paneer, tofu, lentils, legumes, sprouts, milk and milk products are very important and should be taken in both meals during the day. 

  1. Dairy Products

A very good source of dietary calcium, protein and vitamin D is dairy and its products. Women should use any of the preferred products (milk, cheese, paneer, yogurt, curd) 2-3 times in a day to meet the daily requirement of the growing child.

  1. Whole Grains

Whole grains are very essential for the body as they alone can fulfill many needs of the body. Rich in B-vitamins, Iron, and fiber, whole grains should be considered as the main carbohydrate to be consumed. Their fiber content helps the mother to get relieved from constipation (as this becomes a very common problem during pregnancy) and helps manage her sugar levels (yet another consequence during pregnancy). Oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat, and barley are such few examples.

  1. Nuts

Nuts are a powerhouse of nutrients, they are rich in Vitamin B and E, fiber, protein, L-arginine, omega 3 fats and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Women can prefer consuming almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and pistachios. 

They are a very easy and nutritious snack option for all women. Consuming nuts in pregnancy by women also reduces the risk of the child developing an allergy to them, as they get introduced to it at such an early stage.

Foods to Limit

Two foods should be checked for their intake during pregnancy.

  1. a) Fish: They are a very good source of lean proteins and omega 3 fats, especially if you choose sardines and salmon, but they are also prone to get contaminated by mercury which is a metal and is very harmful to the development of the child’s brain. So for the safety of the child, a woman should consume these in moderation.
  1. b) Caffeine: Limiting caffeine intake per day is a good idea considering a child’s growth. Not more than 200 mg of caffeine should be consumed by a pregnant woman. Caffeine is found to contribute to miscarriages and premature birth.

Foods to Avoid

Alcohol:  This should be completely avoided as when a pregnant woman consumes alcohol it directly passes onto the child through the umbilical cord. This causes damage to the child’s physical and mental growth.

Unpasteurized Foods: Pregnant women must avoid all sorts of foods that can cause food poisoning especially caused by Listeria bacteria. This can lead to miscarriages and other physical problems in both mother and child.

Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash

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